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Designing separators and scrubbers for life of field

Dag Kvamsdal, Fredrik Carslon, Mauritz Talseth and Bjrn Christiansen


Presenter: Dag Kvamsdal

Designing for field of life, framework conditions, considerations

Life of field time assumed to be 10 years or more


Process sizing will be based on a production profile
Late life production challenges, different from the early challenges
Production profile has some uncertainties
General reduction in pressure and increase in water
Planned or unplanned changes in production philosophy may include
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques will affect the design such as

Low pressure production


Water injection
Gas lift
Polymer flood

Tie in of satellite fields

Designing for field of life, framework conditions, considerations

New technologies
New technologies may be developed during field of life

Reduced investment cost lighter equipment


Reduced maintenance requirements
Increased reliability on regulation / reduced robustness of separation
Operating as partial processing

New regulations
Regulations for chemical use
Regulation for spill over to the environment both sea and air
Purchasing strategy
Is the interest of the purchasing organization aligned with the operating

Typical multistage oil and gas process systems

Operation; flow changes through time


Reduced pressure
Reduced oil production
Increased water production
Reduced gas density
Possible slugging

EOR, gas lift


Increased gas load
1st stage separator
3rd stage scrubber
Meg dehydrator

EOR, water injection


Increased water load in 1st stage
separator and the water system

Low pressure production

2nd stage separator


Increased gas production
Increased water production
Slugging in 2nd stage separator

Changes during field of life for the separation equipment

Increased gas production


Reduced pressure
Gas injection
Satellite production
Low pressure production
Increased oil production
Satellite fields
Low pressure production
Increased water production
Water injection
Late life production

Slugging / flow dynamics


Reduced pressure
Satellite fields
Low pressure production
More difficult separation
Changes in chemicals used
Stricter demands

Functions of a Separator and Associated Zones

Inlet section
Reduce inlet
momentum
Assure good flow
distribution in the
vessel

Liquid separation
by gravity
Oil and water
separation by
gravity

Gas separation

Discharge control

Demisting section

Removal of bulk of
liquid by use of
gravity

Assure no
remixing of oil and
water

Assure the gas


quality out of the
vessel to be less
than 0.1
gal/MMSCF

Scrubber design philosophy

Demister section, remove the last part of droplets


Mesh pads, redistribute gas and liquid, coalesce
and separate droplets
Gravity separator section, remove bulk of liquid by
gravity separation
Inlet section, reduce inlet momentum, redistribute
gas evenly into scrubber vessel
Dollar plate to assure no re entrainment of liquid
when high velocity gas sweeps the liquid surface

Design for life of field

Be aware of the flow pattern in three phase vessels


Use perforated plates or other type of resistance for optimized volume utilization
Understand the coalescence mechanism in the separator
Large L/D and NIL close to the center of the vessel improves separation
Plan for flow surges
Slug should fit between NIL and NLL
Volume is the only way to suppress liquid slugs
Internals needs to withstand the mechanical load
Choose an inlet sections that will aid separation
Inlet cyclones may give reduced separation performance due to gas carry under
Splash plate inlets will shatter droplets
Do not sub optimize vessel
Weir should be variable for flexible operations
Maximize the number of cyclones in the vessel, they have no turndown issue
Vessel nozzles should be based on vessel capacity
Liquid nozzles should be large to assure no erosion velocity

Liquid Flow Distribution in a Three Phase Separation Vessel


The flow is dispersed at inlet

Zone with
recirculation

Dispersion layer

The flow is separated at outlet

Liquid transport is in the


dispersion band

After the liquid separates out the dispersion band the


liquid transport will be in the clean phases

Liquid side of an separator using resistance


Liquid
dispersion
dominates
inlet section

Liquid
transportation
is in dispersion
layer. Low
transport in
clean phase

Strucured packing
and perforated
plates reduce
dispersion layer
height by adding
hydraulic resistance
and creating droplet
coalescence

Liquid
transportation in
dispersion layer
decrease and more
liquid is
transposrted in
clean phases

Design for life of field

Be aware of the flow pattern in three phase vessels


Use perforated plates or other type of resistance for optimized volume utilization
Understand the coalescence mechanism in the separator
Large L/D and NIL close to the center of the vessel improves separation
Plan for flow surges
Slug should fit between NIL and NLL
Volume is the only way to suppress liquid slugs
Internals needs to withstand the mechanical load
Choose an inlet sections that will aid separation
Inlet cyclones may give reduced separation performance due to gas carry under
Splash plate inlets will shatter droplets
Do not sub optimize vessel
Weir should be variable for flexible operations
Maximize the number of cyclones in the vessel, they have no turndown issue
Vessel nozzles should be based on vessel capacity
Liquid nozzles should be large to assure no erosion velocity

Liquid traffic in the separator / dispersion band

Limiting factor is coalescence into water


Assure large interface area
Idealized
separation

Interface area versus diameter ratio for 2


separators having identical volume
2
1.8
A2/A1

Relative interface area

Interface area versus NIL setting


1
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0

1.6
1.4
1.2

0.1

0.2

0.3
NIL/D

0.4

0.5

1
0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8
D2/D1

0.9

Design for life of field

Be aware of the flow pattern in three phase vessels


Use perforated plates or other type of resistance for optimized volume utilization
Understand the coalescence mechanism in the separator
Large L/D and NIL close to the center of the vessel improves separation
Plan for flow surges
Slug should fit between NIL and NLL
Volume is the only way to suppress liquid slugs
Internals needs to withstand the mechanical load
Choose an inlet sections that will aid separation
Inlet cyclones may give reduced separation performance due to gas carry under
Splash plate inlets will shatter droplets
Do not sub optimize vessel
Weir should be variable for flexible operations
Maximize the number of cyclones in the vessel, they have no turndown issue
Vessel nozzles should be based on vessel capacity
Liquid nozzles should be large to assure no erosion velocity

Liquid surges needs volume to be dampened

Even when you have a regulation system that is fast enough the
flow surges will continue to the next stage

5 m3 Slug Volume

10 m3 Slug Volume

15 m3 Slug Volume

Liquid flow surges will affect separation performance

Flow dynamics will reduce the separation performance


if not the distance from the NIL to the weir is sufficient
to contain the slug
Dispersion layer thickness [mm]

1200
1000

800
600
400

200
0
0

10

11

12

13

14

Point #

The thickness of the emulsion bands as measured at different times at


constant flow rate
The emulsion thickness varies from 200 mm to 1100 mm.

Liquid slugs should be fitted between weir and NIL

Design for life of field

Be aware of the flow pattern in three phase vessels


Use perforated plates or other type of resistance for optimized volume utilization
Understand the coalescence mechanism in the separator
Large L/D and NIL close to the center of the vessel improves separation
Plan for flow surges
Slug should fit between NIL and NLL
Volume is the only way to suppress liquid slugs
Internals needs to withstand the mechanical load
Choose an inlet sections that will aid separation
Inlet cyclones may give reduced separation performance due to gas carry under
Splash plate inlets will shatter droplets
Do not sub optimize vessel
Weir should be variable for flexible operations
Maximize the number of cyclones in the vessel, they have no turndown issue
Vessel nozzles should be based on vessel capacity
Liquid nozzles should be large to assure no erosion velocity

How will gas in the vessel affect the separation performance?

Gas in the liquid phase will generally stabilize the dispersion.


The gas flow lifts the dispersion layer and hinder separation
Small gas bubbles are considered worse than large

Countours showing gas concentration in vessel

Effect of the gas carry under from inlet cyclones

Even small amounts of gas will tend to stabilize the dispersion

GVF = 0 vol%

GVF = 0.05 vol%


Db = 1000 microns

GVF = 1 vol%
Db= 1000 microns

Inlet devices that will help reduce the problems with gas

Inlet vanes

Cyclones extending
only into the oil
layer

Design for life of field

Be aware of the flow pattern in three phase vessels


Use perforated plates or other type of resistance for optimized volume utilization
Understand the coalescence mechanism in the separator
Large L/D and NIL close to the center of the vessel improves separation
Plan for flow surges
Slug should fit between NIL and NLL
Volume is the only way to suppress liquid slugs
Internals needs to withstand the mechanical load
Choose an inlet sections that will aid separation
Inlet cyclones may give reduced separation performance due to gas carry under
Splash plate inlets will shatter droplets
Do not sub optimize vessel
Weir should be variable for flexible operations
Maximize the number of cyclones in the vessel, they have no turndown issue
Vessel nozzles should be based on vessel capacity
Liquid nozzles should be large to assure no erosion velocity

Efficiency of different equipment as function of flow


Performance is generally reduced with flow
100 %
98 %
96 %

Efficiency

94 %

Deoiler cyclone
Bulk oil water cyclones

92 %

Inlet cyclones
Axial flow cyclones

90 %

Electrostatic coalescer
88 %
86 %
84 %
0%

20 %

40 %

60 %
80 %
Flow rate

100 %

120 %

Separation, droplet break up vs. coalescence, simplified view

Droplet size (log d)

Droplet break up
Electrostatic coalescer
Oil continuous
Very large droplets
Low mixing

Inactive
Gravity separators,
Oil continuous,
Large droplets
Low mixing

Inlet Cyclones,
Gas / liquid
Larger bubbles
High mixing
Dewater Cyclones,
Demisting Cyclones,
Water cont,
Small
Larger droplets
Larger droplets

Dewatering Cyclones,
Oil continous
Larger droplets

Both

Coalescence

Deoilers
Water
Small droplets

Mixing (dp/V) (log )

Maximize the number of cyclones

Filling the area with cyclones will give the best


performance
The cyclone performance will improve when
the flow is reduced

Separators and scrubber vessels should be sized based on


performance prediction rather than design numbers

Sizing of separator / scrubbers should be based on efficiency formulas


The only way to make rational decision
The only way to truly optimize the vessel size
Internal scrubber performance model is well modeled
There is a relative large set of test data to populate the models
Model for performance takes into account:
Type of equipment
Physical properties such as gas flow, liquid flow, surface tension

Separator performance models has a good framework but little content to


build into the model
Hartman, Polderman and Total model is similar in form and well suited for
sizing and description of the models
Limited test data available in the public domain

Required separation efficiency


Ex.; LCO < 0.1 gal/MMSCF

Demister
section
99.73 %

Inlet section
and vessel
combined
88.97 %

Total efficiency: 99.97 %

Example case
Process conditions
Operating pressure
Operating temperature
Gas actual flow rate
Gas actual density
Gas actual viscosity
Hydrocarbon liquid flow rate
Oil actual density
Hydrocarbon surface tension
Oil actual viscosity
Water flow rate
Water actual density
Water actual viscosity
Liquid fraction

[bara]
[C]
[Am/h]
[kg/m]
[cP]
[Am/h]
[kg/m]
[N/m]
[cP]
[Am/h]
[kg/m]
[cP]
[vol%]

Separation performance predictions

Year 2011
25.1
105
25263
22.5
0.01
22.71
881
0.021
13.0200
0.0
991.5
0.6
0.09 %
Year 2011

Vessel K-value

[m/s]

Vane inlet Sep. Efficiency

[%]

Liquid feed - scrubber inlet

[m3/h]

22.71

Liquid feed fraction - scrubber inlet

[vol%]

0.090 %

Liquid carry over to demisting section

[m3/h]

2.5055

Liquid fraction to demisting section

[vol%]

0.00992 %

Demisting efficiency

[%]

Liquid carry over from scrubber

[m3/d]

0.162

Liquid carry over from scrubber

[Sm3/106Sm3]

0.013

Liquid carry over from scrubber

[gal/MMSCF]

88.97 %

99.73 %

0.0990

Future technologies density difference not sufficient alone

30.0

Critical
Weber
Number

% Water in Oil Outlet

25.0

20.0

Standard Dehydrator
Compact Separator

15.0

10.0

Operating Flux
5.0

0.0

Liquid Flux Rate (bopd/m2)

Electrostatic coalescence for separators operating in oil continuous streams

Future technologies density difference not sufficient alone

Future technologies density difference not sufficient alone

Summary

Flexible and robust separators is key for good life of field design
Separator and scrubber designs should be sized based on efficiency
formulas
New technology for separation will rely on more than density difference
between the phases for separation
Electrostatic coalescence for separators
Compact floatation for water continuous flows